A Chilliwack father of two young children has just released a kids’ album featuring songs about a flying giraffe, dinosaurs and advice on not eating magnets.
Super Giraffe is Ryan Wugalter’s new seven-song album of all original children’s music and it was released on Valentine’s Day.
He credits his two kids, three-year-old Mira and 15-month-old Solomon, for the inspiration to write the album.
“My daughter was running around the house with this giraffe holding it above her head and I was just strumming the acoustic guitar. Then I started making up the words along with the play that she was doing,” Wugalter recalled. “I started singing the words ‘flying through the air it’s a super giraffe’ and of course she thought it was really funny.”
From there, he sat down, wrote a few more verses and began to turn it into a real song.
The first song recorded was ‘Playgrounds,’ written in celebration of the playgrounds being open again following the closure of them at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of the instruments and vocals on the album are done by Wugalter. Folks can hear guitar, ukulele, drum, bass and even piano – an instrument he needed some help learning how to play.
Local musician Deb Krol gave Wugalter some “great pointers” that led him to incorporate the piano and be happy with ‘Don’t Eat the Magnets,’ he said.
The song originally started out as a simple vocal melody and has some good advice for little ones:
Don’t eat the magnets
They are not good for you
Don’t eat the magnets
Or you will have magnetic poo
And in the song ‘Super Giraffe,’ kids hear about the villain-fighting, well-respected, long-necked hero:
He always eats all the veggies on his plate
He always loves and he never hates
He’s better than good, he’s super great
Super Giraffe, obviously, made the cover of the album. And it was Mira who came to the rescue when the family realized they didn’t have any red fabric for Super Giraffe’s cape. So, the little three-year-old suggested they take a piece of toilet paper and colour it with a red marker – instant superhero.
Wugalter is a Grade 6 teacher at A.D. Rundle middle school where he teaches fine arts and has taught his students a bit of guitar. He’s been in a number of bands in the past and even though he’s not professional musician, he gets “great joy” from writing and playing songs as a hobby, he said.
“Songs and music have always been a huge part of my life.”
He has written a number of songs in the past, but never for children.
“(This is) my first kick at the can at writing specifically for kids.”
When writing for adults, there’s more ego involved in the songs and he would try to associate himself with other artists, he said. But writing the album Super Giraffe was totally different.
“I had a lot of fun. I was really able to enjoy the writing process in a way that I have not before,” Wugalter said. “This was for my kids and I hope it lands on the ears of other kids and (they) will also enjoy it.”
Being the father of two small children and having a new job as a teacher, many people asked him how he found the time to write the album.
“It’s because my wife really allowed me to disappear for an hour here and there.”
The album was recorded in little bits and pieces over the course of about nine months in “one- to two-hours blasts.”
“Everything is not super perfect about (the recording) of it, but it’s perfect in that way because it really is a document of this time in my life.”
Digital downloads of Ryan Wugalter’s children’s album Super Giraffe are $5 each. To buy a copy, go to his Bandcamp page.